SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) formally commissioned two newly-acquired hydrography ships in a simple ceremony held on Monday (June 1) at the Bravo Wharf in this free port.
The ships, BRP Hydrographer Hizon and BRP Hydrographer Palma, are new modern catamaran-type hydrographic survey vessels for the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), an attached agency of the DENR.
Leading the ceremony were DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, NAMRIA Administrator Peter Tiangco, Hydrography Branch director Comm. Jacinto Cablayan, and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia.
Paje said that the commissioning of the two survey ships will boost the capability of NAMRIA to perform the almost impossible task of gathering the latest and most accurate hydrographic and oceanographic data within Philippine waters from 10 to 3,000 meters deep, especially in ports, harbors and domestic sea lanes.
The data collected, according to Paje, will be used in producing and updating nautical charts, electronic navigational charts and other nautical publications to ensure safety of navigation and aid in natural hazard mitigation and marine scientific research.
“We believe that despite limitation of equipment and resources, NAMRIA is performing its tasks so well,” he said, adding that the vessels will be significantly helpful in defining the economic sea boundaries of the Philippines.
Named after former directors of the Bureau of Coast and Geodetic Survey, Capt. Andres Hizon and Commodore Cayetano Palma, BRP Hydrographer Hizon and BRP Hydrographer Palma are 23-meter aluminum catamarans built by Colorado Shipyard in Cebu in 2013. These were brought to Subic in July 2014.
The ships, classed by the International Registry of Shipping, are complete with updated navigational system, security and safety system, survey systems and instrument and hardware, and hydrographic survey workstations, and have fully-furnished cabins.
“With the two additional mapping vessels, we must start now to map and protect our coastline and waters,” Paje said, noting that some European countries have already claimed parts of the mineral fields in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Garcia expressed full support to the leadership of DENR, saying that Subic “will always be ready to support the programs of NAMRIA in every possible way it can.”
Garcia noted that the Port of Subic is now home to the Philippine Navy’s two newly-acquired warships, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz and BRP Gregorio del Pilar, both Hamilton-class cutters that were acquired from the United States. (30)
The BRP Hydrographer Palma while docked at the Bravo Wharf in the Subic Bay Freeport.